Saturday Railfanning

Well Saturday was railfanning day . . . both for model railroads, and for the real deal. I headed out to the Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders’ open house up in Jackson, Louisiana this morning. When I arrived there were already a couple of live steam locomotives fired up on the outside loop, with another on a siding taking on water and fuel. Here’s a shot of a rather unusual double header consisting of two 0-4-0 switchers 🙂

Live Steam in Jackson, LA

After watching the live steam operation for awhile, I headed into both of the layout buildings to see what was going on in them. Most of the layouts were buzzing with activity. Finally I headed out to the covered pavilion used as an open-air shop. At one time there was a narrow gauge “amusement” railroad (the Old Hickory Railroad) operating on the property. It’s been quite a few years since it operated, with the rolling stock now parked in and near the pavilion. The biggest reason was the condition of the steam locomotive . . . it was simply worn out. Manufactured by Crown Metal Products, this steamer was propane powered. It was completely dismantled several years ago and is supposed to be undergoing restoration. However, the only things that have been on the property for quite some time are the locomotive’s frame and suspension, it’s cab, and tender.

OHRR Loco Frame and Tender

Well surprise! The boiler is back from being repaired and re-certified. It was sitting outside still lashed to the truck trailer on which it was shipped.

OHRR Steam Loco Boiler

There still are no signs of the drivers and trucks; I’m assuming they are still out somewhere being overhauled.

I left Jackson a bit after noon and headed east down Highway 10 until reaching US 51 by the Canadian National mainline. I grabbed a quick lunch in Amite, then raced south down to Hammond, hoping to catch Amtrak train number 58 headed up to Chicago. As I pulled up to the depot, I noticed the northbound signal was indicating a meet at the siding north of the depot. Great! Here’s 58 as she pulled out from the depot:

Amtrak #58 - Hammond, LA

And here is the southbound CN freight that patiently waited for 58 to pass. It’s headed down to New Orleans.

CN Southbound Freight - Hammond, LA

While at the depot I noticed three young fellows taking videos of the passing trains. We engaged in conversation after the action, where I learned that they were high school students, and they had developed a liking for trains, and were taking every chance they could to get trackside. Later the father of one of the boys joined us. They were from the Watson area, not very far from my home. The boys had talked him into taking them to Hammond for a day of railfanning. With all the talk these days about how the hobby is just for “old folks”, it was refreshing to see three young guys bubbling with enthusiasm about train watching.

I finally capped off my day at home by watching the (recorded) football game between LSU and #10 Auburn. Wow, Auburn was walking all over LSU during the first quarter, with a 20-0 score. But the LSU Tigers dug in their heels defensively, and the offense finally came to life, ultimately defeating Auburn 27-23! What a game!

-Jack

Some Area Fall Happenings

Being pre-occupied with finishing up my home restoration (as a result of the great 2016 flood) coupled with a lack of progress on my model railroad, has resulted in very few posts over this past year. I’ve mentioned before that I have decided not to do any reconstruction in the train building until the house proper is complete. If I started the work out back, I would never finish the work still needed in the house (too much of a diversion). Drying out the place and remediation has been long completed . . . I just haven’t started the process of rebuilding. But I do hope to finally get out there sometime this winter to begin the work.

In the meantime there are several activities, some railroad and one aviation oriented, that I hope to attend. I think it’s time for me to get out of the house more in order to keep my sanity!

First up: The Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders up in Jackson, Louisiana will be holding their Trainfest on Saturday, October 14th. Things get rolling around 10 am. If you haven’t been to one of these open houses, you really should give it a shot. The club is home to quite a few operating layouts. They cover all of the popular scales (Z, N, HO, S and O) with their indoor layouts. And there is an outdoor G scale layout, along with a separate live steam loop that sees trains running in various scales (G and Fn3 mostly). There is also an open pavilion that is used to shelter and restore a variety of full size equipment. I recently posted a couple photos from there including a neat little Plymouth critter, and a grape harvesting machine. There are quite a few other interesting pieces of machinery under and near the shelter.

A week later (Saturday, August 21st) the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the NRHS will be getting together for a day of railfanning over in Hammond, Louisiana. They will be meeting next to the Amtrak depot located downtown on the CN railroad mainline. Folks usually start gathering around 9 am or so, and you’re welcome to stay until you just can’t take it anymore. 🙂 Everyone is invited to join in, you don’t have to be a chapter member.

The following week there will be an aviation event down in New Orleans. The WWII Air, Sea & Land Festival will be held at the Lakefront Airport on October 27-29. This is the fourth time this event has been there (it was given a new name this year), and it is an absolutely fabulous show. The primary forces behind the event are the Commemorative Air Force and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. There will be a significant number of WWII aircraft both on display and flying, along with several ground vehicles ranging from jeeps to tanks. This year will also feature their newly restored PT boat. I don’t have details of exactly where the boat will be displayed, but I assume it will be in the adjacent harbor. Here’s another link if you’d like more information:  The National WWII Museum.

And finally, the Louisiana Chapter of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) will be holding their fall train show on Saturday, November 4th over in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The event will be at the First Baptist Church gym located on E. Pine Street. Hours will be 9 am until 3 pm. This show coincides with the Ponchatoula Trade Days and Craft Fair which, while not railroad related, can be an interesting adjunct to the day.

Whew, the next month will be busy! Hope to see some of you at one (or more) of these events.

-Jack

The 5th Anniversary

My, how time flies! Today marks the fifth anniversary of the Louisiana Central layout construction. Unfortunately tragedy struck the Louisiana Central less than a month after the fourth anniversary post was made. For those of you who are new to reading this blog, my city suffered a horrific flood last August 13th. My home and the layout building took on about 15″ of flood waters. The good news is that the layout itself suffered only wet feet. However the restoration of the building (flooring, drywall, cabinets, etc.) is on hold until my house restoration is complete (hopefully within these next few weeks).

Since the layout and building have been out of service for the past year (the building is serving as a warehouse for items salvaged from the house), there is little to report with regards to layout construction. A few weeks before the flood I posted my latest (and last) progress report on the layout, the advancement of the mainline west out of Oneida. The only mainline track left to be done is the last stretch into Monterey, and the track in the turnback curve back in the alcove (this is the mainline between Oneida and Whitcomb). I had just finished casting the bridge abutments needed there, and was about to cast the wing walls.  The fourth anniversary installment gives more detail on the remaining work.

I’ve spent time surveying the layout progress these past few months. I’ve laid enough trackage and done enough wiring now to have a good feel for the time required for those tasks. Once layout construction resumes, I should be able to completely finish laying track (including the yards and service areas) within two or three months. Add a month for the wiring, and another month or so to install all the fascia and control panels, and the layout will be ready for shakedown operations. Maybe I’ll have a big announcement on the sixth anniversary!

Fortunately I was able to attend a half dozen railfan and model railroad events last winter and this spring. In just a few weeks (August 5th) the Southeastern Louisiana Chapter of the NRHS will be having their annual slide show at the Denham Springs library. It’s a lightly attended event, but I enjoy the company of those folks, and there are always some interesting slides to view.  You don’t have to be a member to attend, so I encourage those of you local to this area to come join the fun.

I’ll post my progress on the layout building restoration once it gets underway. Hopefully that will be soon.

-Jack

Critters and Such

Back in late March Ron Findley and I took a trip up to Jackson, Louisiana and spent the morning with the Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders, also home of the Old Hickory Railroad. While there, we headed over to the large “train shed” on the property, a large covered area where 1:1 railroad equipment, and an assortment of other odds and ends are stored and worked on. I thought I’d post a few photos of some items that caught my attention.

First up is a recently restored Plymouth “critter” that was parked just outside of the shed. I don’t have any information or background on this piece, but plan to ask questions on our next visit. She looks like she just rolled out of the factory.OHRR_Plymouth-1

OHRR_Plymouth-2

Here are a few other Plymouths quietly awaiting their turn at restoration. Seeing that chassis without a cab and hood (look closely behind the two locos in the foreground) was very interesting, as it allowed one to inspect and figure out the internal workings of the machine.OHRR_Plymouth-3

Below is a contraption that I’d never seen before. From a distance I initially thought it was a straddle lumber carrier. But once I walked over to it, I realized this was a beast of an entirely different nature. I’m speculating that it is some kind of harvesting machine. If any of you folks can shed some light on it, please feel free to comment.OHRR_C-R_Tractor-1

OHRR_C-R_Tractor-2

OHRR_C-R_Tractor-3

A side note: my home restoration from last year’s flood is on the final lap . . . hopefully I’ll be moving back in within a few weeks. Much work remains, especially on the exterior, but at least I’ll be home again!

-Jack

Donald M. Menard

I learned yesterday of the passing of an old friend, Don Menard.  Don was 92 years of age.

I met Don many years ago when he joined the Baton Rouge Model Railroad Club.  We quickly became friends as he became involved in the wiring aspects of the club layout (which I was heavily into).  Don founded and owned an electronics parts and equipment business, Menard Electronics, which catered mostly to the Petro-Chem industry in this area, so he graciously provided our electrical/electronic supply needs from his business.

Eventually both of us moved on from the BRMRC, but later joined in with the group of operators at the late Lou Schultz’s layout over in Covington.  Don always rode over there with a few other friends and me.  He was a prolific operator, and he loved running manifest freights, and especially fast passenger trains.  He probably moved more trains over the line during a given session than any other operator, despite his being the oldest operator in the crowd!

Don was a WWII veteran.  He was the radio operator with a B-17 crew flying out of England.  On one fateful mission his plane was shot down and he parachuted to earth.  Unfortunately he was taken prisoner by the Germans and spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp.  He shared many stories with me about his time in the U.S. Army Air Forces.  My dad was also a former airman during WWII, having been a gunner on a B-24, so between his stories and Don’s, I always had a great first-hand recounting of the 8th Air Force air war in Europe.  Don was active in a POW group, as well as a group of folks from his old bomb group.

He also loved flying and he held a private pilots license.  I was fortunate to fly with him a number of times.  I would get a call early on a Saturday morning and it would be Don.  “Want to go to Cook’s today?”, he’d ask.  Cook’s was a hobby shop up in Shreveport (a couple hundred miles from Baton Rouge).  “Sure”, I would reply.  He would direct me to meet him over at the airport, and off we’d go!  Upon arrival at the airport in Shreveport, we’d take a taxi to Cook’s, spend an hour or so browsing and purchasing, then head back to the airport and home.  One thing I learned about pilots and flying: any excuse to go somewhere in the plane is good enough.

Both Don and his wife’s health had been declining in recent years, so his children moved them to Houston so they could spend their remaining years near them in a senior’s home.

Don was one of the good guys down in this area, and I don’t know anybody that didn’t like Don.  I know he will be missed by all that knew him.  I have missed him greatly ever since he moved away to Houston.

Rest in peace, my good friend.

-Jack

More on Roundhouse Flooring

Before I get into the subject, I’d like to comment on a couple other blog related things.  Back in March this blog was hacked (apparently an attempt to use the blog to distribute spam).  Fortunately my web host detected that a bunch of files had been changed, so they “froze” the site.  I ended up having to re-install the blog software to get things back to normal.  It really wasn’t hard to do, but it did take some time.  At the same time I took steps to harden the site so hopefully it won’t happen again.

The second item concerns the New Post Notifications that are sent out to subscribers when I pen a new morsel for your consumption.  The plug-in that handles that is several years outdated, and the author apparently isn’t interested in keeping it current.  Therefore I elected to try another plug-in (Mail Poet) and hopefully I have it set up correctly.  If you experience a problem, please drop me a line and I’ll try to get it straight.  Or if you just happened to check the blog and saw this post (but didn’t receive an email notification that it was here), please let me know about that too.

OK, on to the topic at hand: roundhouse floors.  Several years ago I had a post in which I was pondering the different floors used in roundhouses.  That led to a nice discussion, but not on the blog.  Instead it was just a bunch of emails back and forth between me and a few friends.  One of the floor types that I mentioned at the time (and one which I had not heard of prior to then) was a series of wooden blocks set on end to create the floor.  Several of you sent me some photo examples of this.  From what I gather, this type of floor was rather common, not only in railroad facilities, but also in other industrial applications, particularly where heavy and/or bulky material and equipment was being handled.  My impression is that the floor is easy on things laid or dropped upon it, and is easy to repair if necessary.

The photo below was taken by Jack Delano back in the ’40s, and it clearly shows this wood block flooring inside a Chicago and Northwestern roundhouse.  You can click on the photo to get an enlarged view.

CNW_Roundhouse-large

Mr. Delano took many photos of railroad subjects back then, and there is currently a book available with a nice selection of his work.

As usual, comments are appreciated.

As another aside, the recovery of my home from the flood last August is finally hitting full stride.  The drywall is up and finished, cabinet work has begun, and I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel!

-Jack

So, What’s Going On Now, Jack?

It seems like forever since the flooding of my home and train room last August.  While both buildings have been dried out, cleaned and treated for mold, and prepped for construction, not much has happened in the reconstruction department.  The problem has primarily been procuring the services of a reliable, local contractor.  But the search has ended, and I should be starting that reconstruction process within a few weeks.  I’ve started the ball rolling by insulating the house.  I’ve nearly through with the living area, and will do the garage and storage room early next week.  Then the new drywall can be hung, and that will be the first major step of many.

Unfortunately, the train room recovery is on a back burner.  It is in the same state as the house as far as remediation and preparation are concerned.  However I’m using the train room as a warehouse for all the stuff that wouldn’t fit in the mini-warehouse (and that’s a lot of stuff).  The plan is to move everything from the building into the house once the house is complete.  Then I can start the rebuild process in the train room.  I wish I could do things more quickly, but this is the best I’ll be able to do.

But I have enjoyed some quality hobby time over the past few months by attending several events in the area, and by spending time with some of my railroading buddies.  Back in late January I participated in the annual Train Day at the Library which is hosted by the Jones Creek Road branch of the public library of Baton Rouge.  The displays at the show were a bit lighter this year due to the fact that several of the participating hosts of the event had themselves flooded and lost much or all of their valued equipment and/or collections.  Particularly hard hit was Forrest Becht, the driving force behind the show.  Forrest lost virtually all of his photo collection (and that’s quite a bit).  But the show was still a hit, and we’ve already been invited back to do the show again next year.

The following week I was off to visit friends at the annual banquet of the Mississippi Great Southern Chapter of the NRHS in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  As usual, the food was excellent, the presentation superb and the camaraderie was marvelous.  This particular event has become my favorite each year and I’m already looking forward to next year’s get-together.

Fast forward two more weeks and I attended the annual banquet of the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the NRHS in Hammond, Louisiana.  I have the same comment here as I had above.  I have friends in this group some of which go back to the late 70s, and it’s always a pleasure visiting with them.

And a recent surprise: Matt Hardy, one of the former operators of the late Lou Schultz’s layout, organized an event held this past Wednesday over in Covington, Louisiana.  Several of us from the Baton Rouge area met with the Covington crowd at Lola’s Restaurant located in the former train depot in downtown Covington.  While there, we toured an old Brill car that is just starting to undergo a cosmetic restoration.  Afterward we retired to Matt’s home for an excellent presentation by David Price of Mississippi.  David is a local historian of the shortline railroads and logging operations in Mississippi, and also many of those in Louisiana.  I’ve enjoyed David’s presentations in the past and this was no exception.  We then took a short tour of Matt’s layout (always interesting to see the progression of layouts over the years), and then we went over to Mike Walsdorf’s to see what was up at his L&N pike.  Another great day!

And it isn’t over yet.  This weekend there will be a train show over in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, and near the end of this month the club up in Jackson, Louisiana will be hosting an open house at their huge facility.  Those folks have at least four large indoor layouts (and I think a few small ones), and two G scale outdoor layouts, one of which is live steam.  I always enjoy the show and camaraderie there as well.

The one thing that has really come to light over the past months is how important my relationships with fellow railfans and modelers have become.  The older I get, the more I cherish the time I spend with other like-minded folks.  Just last month Don Hanley, the associate editor of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine, did an editorial entitled Build Relationships as Well as Models.  It was a timely piece and I agree with most all he espouses in the article.  You can read it yourself (for free) in the February 2017 issue.

Well, I hadn’t intended to pen such a lengthy rambling, but then I haven’t penned much of anything for months, so I had to catch up!

Here’s to all my great railroading friends!

Cheers!
-Jack

The Aftermath

It’s been over three months since my home and layout building flooded.  Both have since been dried out and are waiting for reconstruction.  The building inspector must certify the structures before the walls can be closed in.  However the inspection department is grossly overloaded, and the inspector is nowhere in sight!  It’s been several weeks since I received my building permit, but I’m dead in the water until the official shows up.

I thought I’d post a few photos showing the “cleaned up” train room and shop.  Fortunately, the layout itself has received no significant damage, as only the legs and bracing got wet.  It has all been sprayed with a mold killing chemical to insure there won’t be a future problem there.

Here’s the first view of the layout room.  As you can see, the carpet, and the bottom 30″ of gypsum board and wall insulation have been removed and disposed of.  Things are dried out pretty well now.  I still have to pack away all of the stuff on top of the layout.  In the minutes before the flood (yes, that’s all the time I had) I piled everything I could on top in an effort to (hopefully) minimize damage.Layout Flood - 1

This is a view from the diagonal corner of the room.  Note the flood water silt still covering the black chair base.  Many things from the house have since migrated to this resting place in order to clear the house for remediation, and will have to be packed up and put into storage before reconstruction commences in this building.Layout Flood - 2

The upper half of the shop is relatively unscathed.  However, all of the base cabinets (and much of the contents) were ruined and have been thrown out.  For the time being, I no longer have a workbench (though I wouldn’t be using it now anyhow).
Layout Flood - 3

I don’t plan to spend much effort out here until the house itself is complete and I’ve moved back in.  But eventually this building will recover, and I’ll be back at layout construction once again.

-Jack

Flood!

The Louisiana Central Railroad has flooded!

On Saturday, August 13th the region I live in suffered a horrific flood.  My home (and railroad building) were not in a flood zone (well, at least not before that fateful day).  However a flood of epic proportions swept thru the area and the house and railroad room found themselves with 15″ of water inside.  The river carrying the water has a flood stage somewhere near an elevation of 29 feet.  The maximum recorded water level for the area was 44 feet, and this was considered a 100 year event.  My house and railroad building are on land with an elevation of 52 feet.  Considering the height of the building slab, and the water depth within the buildings, I’m estimating that the water reached an elevation of near 54 feet.  Preliminary estimates I’ve heard on the radio say this may be close to a 1000 year event.  If only I had been born a century earlier or later!

My first realization that something was awry was about 7:30 that morning.  I was about to head out to meet some railroad buddies for our weekly Saturday breakfast, when I noticed that the backyard was almost covered in water.  Looking out the front window, I saw the street was under water.  I had never seen this in my 21 years in this house, so I immediately starting raising what I could.  About 45 minutes later I saw water seeping in the back door, at which time I thought “I better get out of here!”.  I pulled the truck out of the garage, but it was too late.  I saw a car stalled in the street and the water was already over the door sills.  I knew that the rural highway at the end of the street was several feet lower than my street, so knew I had waited too long.  I put the truck back in the garage (the highest point on the lot), and waded out to the street.  All my neighbors were doing the same thing; we were all caught off guard.  Someone said that they heard on the radio that the sheriff’s office had air boats coming out to rescue people.  After wading around the center of the road for a while, a couple small boats appeared.  They were crewed by young folks and they were trying to rescue people.  I scored a ride in an old bass boat and off we went.  The water was at about 30″ in the street at this time.  When the boat turned at the highway, we were shocked.  The houses along the highway already had water from mid window to just under the eaves.  I noticed something sticking out of the water and realized that it was the light bar on the top of the police car that my neighbor drives home at night.  The car itself was completely submerged.  All this water in under two hours!

I returned to the homestead on Tuesday, the 16th.  I have been working continuously each day trying to dry out everything.  Those that have experienced flooding know what I’m talking about . . . cutting out the sheetrock, removing insulation, removing cabinets, etc., etc.  The big enemy here is mold, and it sets in very rapidly.

The railroad room is a mixed bag.  The actual layout suffered no damage, just wet benchwork legs.  I had managed to pick up tools and really important stuff and stacked things on top of the benchwork.  I lost all the materials and less important things.  Actually, I was quite lucky to get some important things up in both the house and the train building.

But about the railroad:  After I got back to my home, I had been extremely worried about mitigating damage in the train building, as the house had first priority.  Late last week four of the fellows from the old C&O operating group in Covington stopped by to see if they could offer some help, Walter Rieger, Sam Urrate, Mike Walsdorf and Johnny Miranda.  They cut out and removed all the carpeting in the train room . . . a major piece of work.  Thanks guys!  Then a few days later my cousins from Hammond came over.  Debbie spent time packing my dishes and cookware so I could put them in storage, and Jim went out to the train building.  When I checked on him hours later, he had cut out the sheetrock below the layout level and removed all the wet insulation.  Another great piece of work complete!  Thanks to my cousins.  Finally, earlier this week Wayne Robichaux and I went out there and removed the cabinets in the shop and restroom, cut out the sheetrock in that area, and removed the insulation.  The immediate remediation in the train room is done, and it’s now drying out.  Wayne has been extremely helpful in my recovery.  Hopefully in a few days I can spray down the house and train building with the mold killing stuff, then start with the reconstruction.

I don’t have a feel for how long the process will take, as there will be a shortage of contractors due to the HUGE number of people that lost their homes.   I feel that I’ll be lucky to get back into my home within 4-6 months.

But the most important thing is that I’m still alive and well.  The Lord was with me on that fateful day.

-Jack

Track Pushes West Out of Oneida

Last week I added about another quarter mile (a bit over 15 feet) of roadbed and track to the Louisiana Central mainline.  Track is pushing westward out of Oneida now, and is well on it’s way to Monterey (the end of the line).  Here’s a snapshot of the progress:

West_of_Oneida

The track will continue toward the doorway down at the far end, and then curve left, passing in front of the opening.  There will be a lift span across that doorway.  The edge of Monterey is off to the left (out of the picture).

This roadbed and track is complete, and it’s wired up.  I’ve declared it ready for operation.

-Jack

The 4th Anniversary

It’s hard for me to believe that today marks the fourth anniversary of the Louisiana Central layout construction.  No, it doesn’t seem as if I just started last year.  But neither does it seem like four years!

I’m pleased to report that significant progress was made over the past year.  To be sure, I went into full retirement last winter, so now have more time to spend on the construction.  But I’ve also been in better spirits, and as a result, have been a bit more productive with the work.

If you’d like to follow along as I discuss the construction, you can click here to open a track plan in a new tab.

All three of the intermediate towns along the line (Oneida, Whitcomb and Maynard) are complete (with reference to roadbed, track and wiring).  The only thing preventing them from full operation is the pending installation of the control panels so that the Tortoise switch motors can be controlled.  The entire Spencer Lumber Company railroad operation has been completed.  This includes the mill complex at Oneida, and all the way out to the re-load point up in the woods at Camp 6.  Again, only the control panels need completion for operations to begin.

Indeed, the only Louisiana Central mainline trackage left to be laid is in the turn-back curve at the alcove, and about 30 feet of mainline west of Oneida, and in to Monterey.  And that won’t be undone for long.  I’m almost finished with the first 15 feet of roadbed out of Oneida and track should be going down on that next week.  The hold up in the alcove is the small overpass bridge west of Whitcomb.  The bridge itself is built, and I’ve started building the forms for the abutments and wing walls that I plan to cast in plaster.  Once the bridge is installed, the mainline can proceed across, and around the curve in the alcove.

As a side note, the only downside to filling up all these areas with track has been the diminishing areas of storage for all of my clutter!  But that’s a good price to pay.

The remaining un-laid trackwork is at each end of the layout.  The yards at Willis and Monterey have to be constructed, and there is an industrial complex between those areas that must be done.  And finally, there is the locomotive service area at Willis that must be installed.  That will likely be the last trackwork to go in.  Fortunately, the sub-roadbed for all of this trackwork is complete, and the track centers have been laid out.  So it’s just a matter of putting down the track and installing the Tortoise switch motors.  All of this trackage will be code 70, and I still have to modify about 25 more Shinohara switches for DCC compatibility.

And there is one more major thing that must be built: the bridge across the doorway into the room!  This bridge is a few feet east of Monterey, and until it’s built, Monterey is isolated from the world.  It’s not going to be just a narrow bridge with a strip of track.  It will be a long timber trestle crossing a small spillway.  Plans call for a bridge section nearly four feet long by one foot in width.  The trestle will span most of that length.  I feel that at least a 12″ width is needed to suggest the land and water that the trestle must span.  I haven’t decided yet whether this bridge is going to swing down or lift up, but am favoring the lift up.  This will be done similar to the pop-up that I built over in Monterey, but on a larger scale.  I can’t swing the bridge up vertically, as it would hit the valance.  Hence, the entire span must lift about two feet so that one can walk under it.  I think that I’ll probably tackle this project this year so that I can complete the mainline.  Wish me luck!

Any questions or comments about what I’ve done, or where I’m going?  Shoot me your words . . . I’d love to hear ’em.

-Jack

A Set-up for My LokProgrammer

I mentioned recently that I had acquired a new LokProgrammer during their summer sale.  The device is only about 4″ square and when connected, has three cables attached to it.  However, I found it a bit awkward to handle all of this while using it.  So I took a short break from layout construction and cobbled together this little programming board for my programmer.  It makes it easy and portable to set up for programming a loco.  Here it is plugged into my train room computer:

LokProgrammer_Board

I attached a piece of track to the board with track nails and small screws.  The screws also serve as wheel stops in case the loco inches too far towards an end.  The LokProgrammer, at right, is also fastened with a screw through the hole in it’s center.  I didn’t want to torque down on the screw for fear of damaging the plastic case, so I glued a couple strips of thin rubber to the case bottom.  Now the programmer won’t have a tendency to rotate around the attaching screw.  The track connections make it easy to connect/disconnect if needed.  And the board sits on some little rubber feet so it doesn’t slide around.  The power supply and USB cable are stored in a small plastic case (not shown) when not in use.

I’m pleased with the result, and it made for an enjoyable change of pace this week.

-Jack